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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Are You Lactose Intolerant?

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Well, if your body doesn't make enough lactase, then you probably are. Lactase is made by the small intestine. When lactose passes through your digestive system, lactase (an enzyme) is necessary for breaking down (digesting) the lactose. So if the lactase isn't there, or if there isn't enough of it--you get problems.

What kind of problems? Well, first of all--symptoms of lactose intolerance usually begin 30 minutes to 2 hours after you eat or drink milk products. Symptoms may include:
  • Bloating
  • Pain or cramps
  • Gurgling or rumbling sounds in your belly
  • Gas
  • Loose stools or diarrhea 
  • Throwing up
The best and easiest way to determine if you really are lactose-intolerant is simply to stop eating all dairy for a few days and see if these symptoms disappear. Then you can try adding small quantities of dairy back into your diet to see what your threshold is. 

If you determine that you are lactose-intolerant (and remember your physician is a good resource and should be consulted before making any major diet changes), then you need to find other sources of calcium. This is very easy. Calcium is found in numerous places. Here are just a few (and tofu is definitely one of them!):
  • Broccoli, okra, kale, collards, and turnip greens
  • Canned sardines, tuna, and salmon
  • Calcium-fortified juices and cereals
  • Calcium-fortified soy products such as soy milk, tofu, and soybeans
  • Almonds
More information can be found here: WebMd, Mayo Clinic and PubMed Health.

Here's to your good health!

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